Senate – Queensland – Australia 2016

Incumbent Senators

Term due to expire 2017Term due to expire 2020
George Brandis (LNP)Matthew Canavan (LNP)
Joanna Lindgren (LNP)Chris Ketter (ALP)
Joe Ludwig (ALP)Glenn Lazarus (GLT)
Jan McLucas (ALP) Ian Macdonald (LNP)
Barry O’Sullivan (LNP)James McGrath (LNP)
Larissa Waters (GRN) Claire Moore (ALP)

For the vast majority of the time since proportional representation was introduced, Queensland has had a majority of Senators from right-wing parties such as the Liberals, Nationals, DLP and One Nation. Indeed, the ALP maintained a consistent number of senators for most of this period, holding four Queensland senators continuously from 1951 to 1984. They held a fifth seat from the 1984 election until 1990, when they fell back to four seats. They gained a fifth again in 2007.

From 1951 until the 1964 election, Queensland had four ALP senators, four Liberal senators and two Country Party senators. The 1964 election saw the Liberals lose a seat to the Democratic Labor Party candidate (and ex-Premier) Vince Gair. They won a second seat in 1967, which resulted in the Liberals, Country Party and DLP each holding two senate seats in Queensland, alongside four ALP senators. The 1970 election maintained the status quo.

The 1974 double dissolution saw the DLP lose both their seats, with the Liberal and Country parties each winning a third seat. The Queensland delegation remained steady at four ALP and three for each of the coalition parties until 1980, when the National Country Party lost one of their three seats to the Democrats. The 1980 election was the first time that the Coalition parties ran separate Senate tickets in Queensland, after running jointly for the previous thirty years. The 1983 double dissolution saw the Nationals win back a third seat at the expense of the Liberals, who by this point in time had begun to run on separate tickets. Throughout the 1980s the Nationals held more Senate seats in Queensland than the Liberals.

The 1984 election saw an enlargement in the Senate, with the ALP winning a fifth Senate seat for the first time and the Nationals electing a fourth senator. This balance of five ALP, four Nationals, two Liberals and a Democrat was maintained at the 1987 double dissolution election.

The 1990 election saw the Liberals overtake the Nationals. After the 1987 double dissolution the Senate had decided that two ALP, two Liberal and two National senators would have six-year terms, despite the fact that the Liberals had won half the number of seats of either other party. This gave them a boost in 1990, as they won two seats to the Nationals one, while not having any incumbents up for election. In practice this meant that the Liberals won two seats, one off the ALP and the other off the Nationals. The ALP was reduced back to four seats, and the Coalition again gained a majority of Queensland senate seats.

The 1993 election saw the Democrats win a second Queensland seat, at the expense of the Nationals. This produced a result of four each for the ALP and Liberal Party and two each for the Nationals and Democrats.

The 1993 election result was maintained in 1996, but in 1998 the Nationals lost one of their two seats to One Nation. In 2001 there were again no changes, and in 2004 the Nationals and Liberals each gained a seat, with One Nation losing their seat and one of the two Democrats being defeated. The 2007 election saw the defeat of the last remaining Democrat, producing an overall result of five senators each for the Labor and Liberal parties and two Nationals senators.

In 2010, the LNP went in to the election with four incumbent senators, and retained three of those seats. Labor maintained their two seats, and the Greens’ Larissa Waters won the first ever Greens Senate seat in Queensland.

In 2013, the LNP retained their three sitting senators, while Labor lost one of their three seats to Glenn Lazarus, running for the Palmer United Party.

2013 result

Liberal National 1,084,29941.40.02.8973
Labor 747,09628.5-0.91.9964
Palmer United Party258,9449.9+9.90.6923
Greens 158,1506.0-6.70.4228
Katter’s Australian Party76,9182.9+2.90.2058
Sex Party29,3801.1-2.30.0784
Family First28,6441.1+0.30.0763
Animal Justice Party27,9841.1+1.10.0749
Help End Marijuana Prohibition23,6240.9+0.90.0630
Motoring Enthusiast18,7420.7+0.70.0504
Shooters and Fishers18,2350.7-1.30.0490
Liberal Democrats18,2010.7-1.10.0483
One Nation14,3480.6+0.10.0385
Fishing and Lifestyle13,3940.5-0.40.0357
Pirate Party12,9730.5+0.50.0350

The Liberal National Party won two seats on primary votes, and Labor won one, with Labor winning another with a very small amount of preferences.

Let’s fast forward until there are only eight candidates left in the race, running for two spots:

  • Matthew Canavan (LNP) – 0.9063 quotas
  • Glenn Lazarus (PUP) – 0.7012
  • Adam Stone (GRN) – 0.4622
  • James Blundell (KAP) – 0.3007
  • Daniel McCarthy (AFLP) – 0.2281
  • Joel Murray (SXP) – 0.1580
  • James Moylan (HEMP) – 0.1305
  • Jim Savage (ON) – 0.1116

A majority of One Nation preferences flowed to the Fishing and Lifestyle Party, but HEMP managed to gain enough to get ahead of the Sex Party.

  • Canavan (LNP) – 0.9073
  • Lazarus (PUP) – 0.7019
  • Stone (GRN) – 0.4626
  • Blundell (KAP) – 0.3018
  • McCarthy (AFLP) – 0.2992
  • Moylan (HEMP) – 0.1675
  • Murray (SXP) – 0.1582

Sex Party preferences overwhelmingly flowed to HEMP, putting them into fourth place:

  • Canavan (LNP) – 0.9080
  • Lazarus (PUP) – 0.7031
  • Stone (GRN) – 0.4709
  • Moylan (HEMP) – 0.3133
  • Blundell (KAP) – 0.3024
  • McCarthy (AFLP) – 0.3006

Preferences that were sitting with the Fishing and Lifestyle Party split between HEMP (putting them into third place) and Palmer United:

  • Canavan (LNP) – 0.9224
  • Lazarus (PUP) – 0.8019
  • Moylan (HEMP) – 0.4773
  • Stone (GRN) – 0.4714
  • Blundell (KAP) – 0.3251

Katter’s Australian Party preferences elected Lazarus:

  • Lazarus (PUP) – 1.0904
  • Canavan (LNP) – 0.9549
  • Moylan (HEMP) – 0.4788
  • Stone (GRN) – 0.4736

The Greens pulled back ahead of HEMP on the Lazarus surplus:

  • Canavan (LNP) – 0.9803
  • Stone (GRN) – 0.5305
  • Moylan (HEMP) – 0.4866

A majority of HEMP preferences flowed to the Greens, but enough flowed to Canavan to elect him:

  • Canavan (LNP) – 1.1536
  • Stone (GRN) – 0.8351


  • A – Chris Cox (Cyclists Party)
  • B – Frances Jankowski (The Arts Party)
  • C – Trevor Bell (Secular Party)
  • D – Labor
  • E – Gabe Buckley (Liberal Democrats)
  • F – Peter Radic (Online Direct Democracy)
  • G – Liberal National
  • H – Paul Bevan (Animal Justice)
  • I – Rowell Walton (Katter’s Australian Party)
  • J – Marnie Southward (Australian Equality Party)
  • K – Terry Snell (Mature Australia)
  • L – Suzanne Grant (Nick Xenophon Team)
  • M – Brandon Selic (Pirate)
  • N – Bernard Gaynor (Liberty Alliance)
  • O – Deb Cotter (Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party)
  • P – Jan Pukallus (Citizens Electoral Council)
  • Q – Michael Turner (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers)
  • R – Sal Rivas (Unaffiliated)
  • S – Sheila Vincent (Democratic Labour)
  • T – Rod McGarvie (Family First)
  • U – James Moylan (Renewable Energy Party)
  • V – Robin Bristow (Sex Party/HEMP)
  • W – Mark Gardner (VOTEFLUX)
  • X – Pauline Hanson (One Nation)
  • Y – Paul Taylor (Rise Up Australia)
  • Z – Mike Head (Socialist Equality Party)
  • AA – Wayne Solomon (Christian Democratic Party)
  • AB – James McDonald (Palmer United Party)
  • AC – Glenn Lazarus (Glenn Lazarus Team)
  • AD – Marcus Saltmarsh (Jacqui Lambie Network)
  • AE – Ken Stevens (Australian Progressives)
  • AF – Shea Taylor (Australian Christians)
  • AG – Deb Lynch (Drug Law Reform)
  • AH – Jason Woodforth (Health Australia Party)
  • AI – Pete Mailler (Country Minded)
  • AJ – Jeremy Davey (Veterans Party)
  • AK – Greens
  • AL – John Roles (Sustainable Australia)
  • Ungrouped
    • Shyamal Reddy
    • Greg McMahon
    • David Bundy
    • Kim Vuga
    • Jim Savage
    • Tony Moore
    • Josephine Potter
    • Paul Stevenson
    • Marshal Anderson
    • Ian Eugarde
    • Julie Boyd
    • Leeanne Hanna-Mcguffie
    • Zoemaree Harris
    • Michael Kaff
    • Terry Jorgensen
    • Gary James Pead
    • John Gibson
    • Belinda Marriage
    • Greg Beattie

The Liberal National Party should win at least five seats, Labor should win at least four, and the Greens should win at least one.

The LNP is currently in a strong position to win a sixth seat, but if their polling drops (or is lower in the Senate than the House) they could struggle to retain their sixth senator.

Current polling puts Labor on just under half a quota for a fifth seat, and the Greens vote is too low to give them a chance of winning a second seat, but a relatively small increase in the Greens vote could see them as a contender for the last seat.

Senate polling has suggested that both the Glenn Lazarus Team and the Nick Xenophon Team are polling in the range which could give them a chance of winning the last seat, depending on exhaustion and favourable preference flows.

We have no solid information on popular support for Pauline Hanson. If she polled 4%, like she did the last time she ran for the Senate in Queensland in 2007, then she would have a good chance of winning – but more recent statewide elections in NSW have her support at a much lower level.


  1. KAP are certainly in with a great chance IMHO. Most of the minor Right groups preferenced them, and the majors did too.

  2. Alex – for the majors’ preferences to help, they need to first be knocked out with KAP above them. Labor’s got about 0.55 extra quota, and LNP has about 0.42 extra quota (rounding down in both cases). For KAP to get preferences from them, they need to be knocked out, before reaching another quota. If they get another quota, very little excess preference will flow on to KAP.

    And it’s likely that both will get those quotas, so I doubt the majors’ preferences will make much difference.

    And while many parties are giving preferences to KAP, most of them have KAP below other high-quota parties. LNP preferences will go to Family First before KAP, for example. The only parties whose preferences flow to KAP before other high-quota parties are DLP, Family First, and Lazarus. Which makes things a challenge for KAP, with both Family First and Lazarus likely to hold on until fairly late in the count.

    Meanwhile, Family First gets top high-quota preference (assuming ONP gets knocked out early after getting their first seat) from LNP, ONP, SFF, Rise Up, Christians, and at least one ungrouped candidate.

    Meanwhile, Labor preferences flow through Greens, Sex, Lambie, and Lazarus before reaching Katter. If Greens don’t reach quota earlier (in which case they flow into Labor and help Labor get their quota), Labor preferences will pass through the Greens and be significantly diminished. If Greens do each quota earlier, which is more likely, their slim overflow will help Labor stay in the race longer and probably keep them from helping Katter.

    In the unlikely case that Greens get to quota very early, flow on to Labor, who then get to quota fairly quickly, preferences will bulk up Sex, and then Lazarus (unless Lambie gets unexpectedly strong preference flow along the way to stay above Sex after Labor preferences).

    And while the preferences get caught on Lazarus, Family First accumulates a heap of additional preferences.

    While I wouldn’t put it past KAP getting there, they’re definitely not “in with a great chance”. They’re the “if everything goes right for them” case.

  3. Glen – the main point at which my modelling deviates from your analysis is the assumption that the second One Nation candidate will go out early enough to deliver preferences to Family First.

    Of the four serious contenders for the final spot (One Nation, Family First, LDP and KAP), I consistently get Family First as the first eliminated. By this point Lazarus is out (sometimes even a little earlier, with Animal Justice and NXT having some fluky preference-surfing potential), delivering a boost to KAP.

    At this point (where one of those four will be eliminated) Family First has only collected directed preferences from Rise Up Australia, the Christians and an independent (not sure who you mean by SFF?). The others that would direct preferences to them are still in the count, including the fifth Liberal who would not yet be elected but would be well ahead of these four contenders.

    Meanwhile, One Nation would have collected the much larger Australian Liberty Alliance, along with the Shooters, and KAP would have Lazarus and the DLP. The LDP doesn’t collect many preferences but has enough of a head start to stay ahead of Family First.

    So I have Family First going out and then it’s close between the LDP and One Nation, but it doesn’t matter because neither of them preferenced each other, making it difficult to overtake KAP.

    As another note, the majors preferences don’t help anyone. With preferences arriving more in trickles rather huge blocks, there are no significant surpluses when someone gets elected.

    I’m going to make a tweak to the model in relation to the the random component of preferences – while I’ve got it weighted by philosophies I may still be getting too many spectrum-crossing preferences. However I’m not convinced that would be causing too much of a distortion at the moment as the battle is between a bunch of parties on the right.

    As noted previously, I’d really like to get into the Brisbane CSS and get some real preference data. I reckon noting the first three preferences from a couple of thousand ballots would improve the model inputs dramatically.

  4. I think below the line votes will count for something here. A significant chunk of conservative LNP supporters went below the line for Lindgren. Even if it is not enough for her, the 9-12 preferences could be enough (I suspect they will go to Family First but it could be One Nation or the LDP). Similiarly there was an online movement to order conservatives below the pine that had Canavan and Lindgren in positions 11 and 12. Above them were ALA, Family First, Christian Dems, One Nation. These votes could be vital in close contests.

    Plus I think plenty of regular non political tupes went 1-12 below the line. Who knows whatthey did.

  5. Have run a few more scenarios after the tweak to my random preference logic (actually more a fix than a tweak, it wasn’t really working as intended) and I now have Family First back in the mix. Still getting KAP as the most likely winner but Family First is now the threat.

    Essentially at the point where one of KAP, Family First, One Nation and LDP are going to be eliminated, you can throw a blanket over them. I’m consistently getting all four within 10,000 votes and sometimes within 5,000 votes (totals are in the range of 85,000-100,000). Sometimes it’s Family First that goes out and sometimes the LDP. However I have scenarios that are close calls for the others too.

    If Family First goes out at this point, then KAP wins easily with the help of their preferences.

    If the LDP goes out, it tends to be a close three-way contest again at the next elimination (LDP did not preference any of the remaining parties). If Family First gets into the last two, they will win as both One Nation and KAP preference them.

    If one of One Nation or KAP goes out first (both less likely as I have them leading in most scenarios), Family First would win on their preferences.

    The short version is that if Family First outlasts one of One Nation or KAP, they win. Otherwise I think KAP wins and that is still my favored outcome.


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